Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner says that the township’s new traffic rule to decrease evening traffic congestion will make the end-of-day commute a lot safer.
“We have one intersection and it’s very narrow streets, and because of the new Waze app, people are going up Hackensack Plank Road, making a right turn onto Pleasant Avenue and it’s total gridlock,” Turner said after a swearing-in ceremony for 37 new North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue firefighters this morning.
“People can’t make the left turn, people can’t come straight out of their neighborhood and Hackensack and Pleasant Avenue are the only roads that open up a third of the town – the Heights section of Weehawken.”
Turner further stated that as the result of the routinely gridlocked conditions, anyone who is not a resident of Weehawken, Hoboken or Union City cannot make the right turn onto 495 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The new traffic rule went into effect today and the mayor added that the change was made after first responders complained that they could not make it through the intersection during a rush hour emergency.
Furthermore, Turner encourages commuters that don’t live in the immediate area to take Park Avenue or John F. Kennedy Boulevard East on their drive home, noting that tickets will slowly begin to be handed out to anyone who doesn’t follow the new traffic ordinance.
“If someone defies a police officer, they’ll get a summons and have to go to court or pay the summons. We don’t expect much of a problem, it’s a very narrow intersection, the police know who to let down [the road] and not to let down and slowly over time we’re sure compliance will increase,” Turner added.
” … The overwhelming majority of residents love it because they can’t get in and out of their own neighborhood. Even people going to Union City can’t get up Hackensack Plank Road and what’s really not safe is people are driving in the oncoming traffic lane to get around the road block, buses are stuck, so it’s really not safe.”
Turner concluded that the change was a simple one, as it came about by the township council amending their traffic ordinance.
Weehawken is the second New Jersey town to implement new guidelines to alleviate local traffic: last month, Leonia banned out-of-town drivers from using about 60 residential roads to access the George Washington Bridge (h/t CBS New York).
An Edgewater attorney has since filed a lawsuit against Leonia challenging the legality of the new traffic laws.